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look to the general effect of his proceedings on impartial men, but to the circumstances of each particular case as it comes before him; otherwise it might be expected that he would see that in a nation that cherishes freedom, it is extremely dangerous to give the least ground for complaint to those who call out against oppression.
As ex officio proceedings may cover oppression, it is very easy, (proceeding by hypotheses), to raise a great alarm on their account, though it does not follow that men are to be oppressed, because there is a way to commit oppression.
When the habeas corpus act was suspended, no man, however innocent, was safe, according to theory, yet it was never, we believe, alleged that any innocent man was molested. As it is wise to err on the safe side, a jealousy of whatever may crush liberty is much less dangerous, even if carried to an extreme, than apathy and indifference.
the principles of honour at any place but at the bar. To do the best for a client is the only consideration; and to ruin the innocent, or save the guilty is quite a secondary consideration, or rather it is no consideration at all with a barrister.' This is one of the best and most practical illustrations of the dangerous opinion, that morality consists not in natural right and wrong, nor in any law of divine origin, but merely in the institutions and customs of mankind. It is not to be supposed that an attorney-general, bred to the bar where the point of honour is of this nature, can have the same feelings that ordinary men have; and therefore, if not checked by all the barriers possible, he runs a great risk of alarming the friends of freedom, who are only doing their duty when they watch his inotions, very strictly
We have no doubt that as a judge, Sir Vickary Gibbs will redeem his character, and that instead of his name being coupled with ex officio prosecutions, it will be coupled with justice and mercy; but it would be flattery and deception not to admit, that as matters are, his name stands in some need of redemption*.
* The best way, after all, of judging of an attorney-general's conduct, is to examine whether he has attacked innocent men, or let the guilty escape. Without offence be it spoken, Sir Vickary never prosecuted for a libel without probable grounds, though he let thousands pass unnoticed. The er officio proceeding, itself improper, was in no degree amended or softened by his manner, which was peculiarly severe, and sometimes rose to downright ill-nature. In this portrait of Sir Vickary we have not made a barrister's pleading; for the good and evil, if not spoken with truth, have been at least spoken with impartiality: the error, if error there is, arises from judgment, not from intention.
DAVIES GIDDY, ESQ. M. P.
A MEMBER of parliament who takes a very active but a very moderate line in politics, and who is said to be remarkable for his candour and liberality in regard to political measures.
Mr. Giddy is the more to be praised that most men who are active in politics are inclined to be intollerant towards those who are their opponents; as, on the other hand, those who view things with impartiality, are generally indolent or indifferent, by which means their talents are lost to their country.
Why or how it happens that Mr. Giddy, who is in every way qualified for becoming an active member of the present government, has not any official situation, we cannot say; but whatever that reason may be, it were to be wished that it may speedily be removed, for it is only in a very imperfect way that' a man who is not in an official capacity can serve his country.
The influence of members of parliament is the cause of introducing many men into office who have not any abilities; and by the simple, but necessary effect of introducing such men into office, the same influence excludes men of talents who have no protection.
This is perhaps one of the greatest disadvantages that is attached to the representative system, for nothing is more expensive than a system of favouritism. It is expensive in a double way.
'Talents are excluded, and there is but little industry where men trust to protection, not to merit*.
* Wherever a general abroad has conducted an expedition badly, his appointment has been traced to parliamentary interest; and if the errors in the commissariat and different departments were looked into, they might most probably be traced to the same cause. Whoever goes into any of the public offices in the afternoon, will find them empty, or at best a few of the lower order of clerks only. If one goes
in the forenoon, be will find the upper clerks, who are esquires and gentlemen, reading the newspapers, and conversing on indifferent subjects, and quite prepared to give an insolent, or at least a careless answer, to any stranger that applies to them on business. The lower clerks are generally employed in dipping new pens in ink, that they may sell them to a second hand stationer. These observations do not extend to a few (a very few) of the chief clerks, who attend with great diligence to business, and transact it with great ability; and it is not a little singular that those who are the most able, and most attentive to their duty, are also the most civil to strangers. It would appear that the same protection whieb
The French government, which has been the only one regularly and systematically opposed to that of England, has enjoyed an immense superiority from this very circumstance. It was more efficient, and less cramped in its endeavours.
For “ piping times of peace” no government is better than that of England; but when war is the order of the day, it is far from being equally admirable; if, however, those men who are not the immediate abettors of government were to act with the independent moderation and abilities of Mr. Giddy, the representative system would be subject to much less inconvenience than it now is; but such an event is not to be expected, and indeed is incompatible with the nature of man, let the representatives of the people be chosen how they may.
insures those gentlemen of impunity for idleness and negligence, insures them also against the consequences of insolence. It is impossible to quit a public office without thinking on Hamlet's soliloquy on the miseries of life, amongst which the insolence of office ranks one of the first, that “patient merit of th’unworiby bears."